Pickup plows into police, sheriff's cars (w/video)

Tri-City HeraldOctober 8, 2013 

A Finley man faces multiple charges for allegedly leading officers on a high-speed chase exceeding 100 mph and deliberately crashing into two patrol cars early Tuesday morning.

Shane DeWeber, 33, brandished a sword, fought with police and was stunned with a Taser twice — with no effect — before being taken into custody, according to Benton County Sheriff Steve Keane.

The wild morning began at 4:11 a.m. when DeWeber’s estranged wife, Shannon DeWeber, called 911 to say he was pounding on her door in the 200000 block of East Bowles Road and trying to enter the home through a window.

The two had been separated for about two months and Shannon DeWeber had two children at home, Keane said. She believed her husband was on narcotics, since he was licking windows and acting out of character.

“It was a situation we felt could get out of control fairly quickly,” Keane said.

Shane DeWeber never made it inside and deputies confronted him in the driveway of the home, Keane said.

DeWeber, who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 260 pounds, took the sword out of his pickup and threatened deputies, who were standing 15 to 20 feet away, while refusing commands to surrender and asking them to shoot him, Keane said. He got in the pickup and fled after a deputy attempted to stun him with a Taser.

He led deputies on a high-speed chase down Highway 397 and other roads around Finley, often driving on the wrong side of the road, Keane said. They gave up the pursuit out of concern for the public.

His second confrontation with officers came after he crashed his Dodge Ram pickup at more than 100 mph into vehicles from the Benton County Sheriff’s Office and Kennewick Police Department that were waiting for him along Haney Road around 4:30 a.m., Keane said.

Keane believes DeWeber was trying to go back to his wife’s house, about a half mile from the crash site, when he ran into the vehicles, he said.

The officers were laying spike strips across the road to try and stop DeWeber, Keane said. He pointed his pickup at the patrol cars, which were parked in a gravel area to the side of the road with their emergency lights on.

Both cars were destroyed, but the officers — Sheriff’s Sgt. Mathew Clarke and Kennewick Police Officer Liz Grant — were able to get out of the way uninjured.

“The speeds were so high that the deputy’s patrol car that was hit actually landed upside down on top of the Kennewick police car,” Keane said. “Mr. DeWeber’s truck catapulted completely over the top of the two vehicles.”

DeWeber crawled out of the pickup after the crash and charged the officers, Keane said. The officers tried to stun him with a Taser a second time, but it had no effect. They took him into custody after a brief struggle.

He was taken to Kennewick General Hospital’s intensive care unit, where he was in stable condition, Keane said.

Text messages sent by Shane DeWeber showed that he wanted to die “suicide by cop,” Keane said.

“We believe at this time that Mr. DeWeber intentionally collided with the patrol cars either to end his life or possibly to end the lives of the deputy and the police officer that were on scene,” Keane said.

The deputies would have been within their rights under state and federal law to shoot DeWeber in the situation, Keane said.

“At the time the officers made the decision that they didn’t want to use their weapons, that they would pursue another avenue,” Keane said. “When you look at this in hindsight, I think that they made the right decisions all along. We don’t want to have to shoot a person that we don’t need to.”

The sheriff’s office is seeking charges for attempted burglary, felony eluding a police vehicle and felony assault, Keane said.

Shane DeWeber’s attorney, Peyman Younesi of Kennewick, said he attempted to visit his client at the hospital Tuesday but Shane DeWeber was still sedated.

Younesi represented DeWeber in a 2009 case stemming from another domestic dispute, as well as on a recent driving under the influence charge. The DUI was on the district court docket for next week, he said.

DeWeber hadn’t been drinking when he was arrested for DUI, but had an adverse reaction to prescription drugs, Younesi said. He suspects his client was on the same drugs Tuesday.

Younesi described Shane DeWeber as a “Teddy bear” in a giant’s body.

“It’s very, very uncommon, unlike him,” said Younesi, who plans to represent DeWeber in the new case. “I was very, very surprised to hear the information I heard and read.”

Shane DeWeber pleaded guilty to lesser charges after allegedly pointing a .40-caliber Glock handgun with a laser at Shannon DeWeber in October 2009 at a home they shared in Kennewick, according to court documents. He was upset after his wife told him she wanted a divorce.

Officers also found several rifles in Shane DeWeber’s home in 2009, according to court documents. He was prohibited from owning guns as a condition of a felony second-degree assault case in 1998 in Franklin County.

A second-degree domestic violence assault charge was eventually dropped in the 2009 case, but Shane DeWeber pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful display of a weapon, according to court documents. He was sentenced to an eight-month work release program and went through marriage counseling with Shannon DeWeber.

In a February 2011 court statement, Benton County Prosecutor Andy Miller said Shane DeWeber had completed individual treatment and marriage counseling. Miller quoted child and family therapist Amy Alvarado as saying Shane DeWeber “continues to be highly motivated toward positive change in his life.”

The document went on to say that Shannon DeWeber had recanted the original story she gave to police officers and claimed that the guns were hers and that her ability to perceive events was impaired by alcohol and medications she had consumed on the night of the 2009 incident.

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